Aug. 02--"Write a musical, see the world."
Dean Pitchford wrote those words last year before heading overseas to watch an all-female Japanese production of "Footloose," a musical version of the hit 1984 movie.
Pitchford wrote the screenplay for that film, co-wrote many of the songs on the soundtrack and then helped turned the movie into a 1998 Broadway musical. The stage production has since been performed all over the globe, from Australia and South Africa to France and Poland. Pitchford has logged a lot of air miles seeing the show in some of these far-flung locations.
Pitchford's next trip is to Ojai, where he'll take part in a panel discussion titled "Breathing Life into Musical Theatre: An Evening of Performance and Exploration." The talk will breathe new life into the annual Ojai Playwrights Conference. Now in its 16 year, the conference -- with a few exceptions -- has usually shined the spotlight on dramatic works.
But on Thursday night in Matilija Auditorium, Pitchford and his peers -- including composer/lyricist George Stitt, composer Brendan Milburn, Tony-nominated composer Laurence O'Keefe ("Legally Blonde") and electric violinist/vocalist Valerie Vigoda -- will explore the process of developing a musical. Robert Egan, the artistic director of the conference, and Chris Montan, president of Walt Disney Music, will moderate the evening, one of two events in the conference's Intersection Series.
The next night, the conference's Summer New Works Festival begins in earnest with the first of eight staged readings of in-progress dramatic works. The playwrights have spent the past two weeks at the conference honing these pieces, and now it's time for them to get some important feedback.
It's also a chance -- to tweak Pitchford's words -- for audience members to "See a play, and see the world." Some of this year's plays are set close to home (East Los Angeles, the Central Valley). Others are set across the country (Florida's Panhandle) and across the world (North Korea).
Intersection Series events will take place at Matilija Auditorium (703 El Paseo Road). Performances will be held in the Zalk Theater at Besant Hill School (8585 Ojai/Santa Paula Road). Tickets to the readings are $25 each; tickets to other events are $20. For information, call 640-0400 or visit http://www.ojaiplays.org.
Here's a schedule:
Wednesday: "Milestones #2: The Men" (7:30 p.m.) will feature male writers, actors and storytellers -- including Robert Askins, Jon Robin Baitz, Bill Cain and Stephen Adly Guirgis -- discussing milestones in their lives. Part of the conference's Intersection Series.
Thursday: "Breathing Life Into Musical Theatre" (7:30 p.m.). Part of the Intersection Series.
Aug. 9: "Dogs of Rwanda" by Sean Lewis (7 p.m.), about the author's experiences as a missionary in that war-torn country, and "Fighting Shadows" by Richard Cabral (9 p.m.), a one-man show about the author's attempt to "turn his past life of pain" as a gang member "into a thing of beauty."
Aug. 10: Youth Workshop Performance (10 a.m.), featuring in-progress works by young writers and performers; "The Comparables" by Laura Shellhardt (1 p.m.), a dark comedy about three women vying for power in the cutthroat world of high-end real estate; "Carl the Raping Goat Saves Christmas" by Lucy Alibar (4 p.m.), a one-woman show, set in Florida's Panhandle, about Pentecostalism, murder, animals, revenge and the Bible Belt; and "Goliath" by David Wiener (8 p.m.), a drama about free speech and the relationship between political violence and loneliness in America.
Aug. 11: "Hannah and the Dread Gazebo" by Jiehae Park (noon), about a woman trying to retrieve her grandmother's body from North Korea; "Rest" by Samuel D. Hunter (3 p.m.), about residents at a Northern Idaho retirement home who are caught in a record-breaking blizzard; and "St. Jude -- Part Two" by Luis Alfaro (6:30 p.m.), the conclusion of the playwright's one-man show, about caregivers, patients and family members who populate the American health care system.
(c)2013 Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.)
Visit Ventura County Star (Camarillo, Calif.) at www.vcstar.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
Most Popular Stories
- Obama Administration Releases Proposal to Regulate For-Profit Colleges
- Koch Brothers Step up Anti-Obamacare Campaign
- Elizabeth Vargas' Husband Marc Cohn Addresses Rumors
- Keurig Adds Peet's coffee, Alters Starbucks deal
- Quiznos Files for Chapter 11
- U.S. to Relinquish Gov't Control Over Internet
- Vybz Kartel Convicted of Murder
- SoCalGas Reaches Record Spend on Diversity Suppliers
- U.S. Consumer Sentiment Falls in Early March
- FDIC Sues Big Banks Over Rate Manipulation